The master’s programme in Biobased Materials prepares you to take on an expert role in the field of biobased materials. The multidisciplinary nature of the programme provides you with a solid scientific basis in biology, chemistry, materials science & engineering. Your selection of electives will further allow you to connect disciplines and gain relevant technical and soft skills.
Upon graduation, you are ready to pursue a career in a wide variety of areas: from life science, biotechnology, chemistry, and engineering to the automotive or power industry. You also have the knowledge and skills to design innovative experimental strategies for a wide array of applications of biobased materials, which aid the transition towards a more sustainable future.
This expertise is highly sought after and relevant for a wide range of careers in for example:
- Small and medium enterprises (SME) that focus on innovative product, technology or process development, especially related to biobased materials and sustainable manufacturing
- Companies or plants involved in the production of materials or (bio)molecules for industrial or biomedical applications
- Companies or plants involved in biomass extraction and/or biotechnological or agricultural applications, including biological/chemical suppliers
- Chemical industry or engineering companies that design (parts of) chemical processes
- Consultancy firms, NGOs or governmental institutions that focus on materials evaluation, sustainability and/or circularity
- Entrepreneurship. You could start your own start-up
With your knowledge of biobased materials, you are able to become a professional in a variety of fields. In addition to starting your career as a professional in the industry, you are also qualified to enter a research career, for example by pursuing a PhD or by joining an academic group or institute as a research assistant or technician.
Are MSc Biobased Materials graduates in high demand?
Yes, the job prospects are very promising. As society is rapidly transitioning towards a circular economy, the demand for graduates in the biobased materials field continues to grow.
After finishing her master’s thesis at the TNO/Brightlands Materials Centre in Geleen, the organization offered her a position as junior scientist within the Sustainable Buildings department. “I am currently conducting innovative research on ‘smart windows.’ This mostly involves coatings and pigments that block the sun’s heat in the summer and allow it in during the winter. This dynamic system will make a positive contribution to the current energy transition.”
Janique started her bachelor’s of applied science studies in Chemical Engineering, at the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Heerlen. She decided to do her master's Biobased Materials at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Maastricht University because it offers a unique study location. “The fact that the master’s was given at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus really helped with making the connection to the industry. Often, company experts were involved in our lessons about sustainability topics. During my master’s study, I learned a lot about the importance of transitioning to a circular economy and what changes are needed for a sustainable future. This increase in awareness motivated me to perform meaningful research in benefit to this transition.”
“Challenge yourself and also enjoy everything you do”, Janique says. Challenging as well as enjoying yourself are undeniably possible thanks to Maastricht Universities vision on education. “I loved the small-scale education. The teachers are really involved with each individual student. Furthermore, the problem-based learning system of the master’s study was quite valuable, as it supports the students in being creative and coming up with project ideas in small groups.”
After his bachelor’s Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, Charles Wesemann found his way to Maastricht to obtain his master’s degree in Biobased Materials (BBM) at Maastricht University. “Maastricht University is a different experience, compared to other places as it has a rich and diverse culture. The campus, integrated within the city, allows for a great transition from academia to student life”, he says. “Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. at the Technical University of Eindhoven in the field of Material Science and Engineering. My research focuses on the use of Phase Change Materials from sustainable sources and applying them to building applications for seasonal heat storage.” He recently participated in research looking into ways to recover silica from the ashes of incinerated municipal waste.
About his time in Maastricht, he says: “My academic experiences from the BBM group were very interdisciplinary and allowed me to become flexible and apply knowledge in different ways to my current research.” He has a clear advice to his present day and future successors studying BBM: “Enjoy your time, before you know it things will change and you will find yourself in a new environment.”
“Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone”, says Liliana Joosten. She is definitely not afraid to step out of her comfort zone because she studied in several countries. Starting with obtaining a bachelor’s in Biobased Products and Bioenergy at the German Hohenheim University, she followed her master’s Biobased Materials at Maastricht University and now is working as an PhD Research Fellow at Université Claude Bernard Lyon in France.
Comparing the universities she visited, she says: “The study experience is very different in Maastricht due to their Problem-Based Learning method. The classes are small and the frequent knowledge exchange results in a deep understanding of the content. The students are more guided during their studies, compared to what I experienced during my bachelor’s. In Maastricht I learned how to ask the relevant questions in a highly interdisciplinary environment and to stay curious and questioning about the topic of my research.”
Liliana’s research in France focusses on the synthesis and processing of an exciting new polymer material called vitrimers. “It’s a cross-linked, high-performance material that can be recycled, healed and reprocessed, with applications in line with sustainable development and the plastics circular economy.”
After obtaining his bachelor’s at Hogeschool Zuyd in Heerlen, Jules Stouten pursued a master’s degree in Biobased Materials at Maastricht University. “The bachelor’s programme connected well with my master’s at UM. With a lot of hard work, it was definitely possible to make the change from hogeschool to university.”
“The technical knowledge I acquired during my studies is of great importance to me in my work as a chemist.” Besides that, having the opportunity to make international friends and acquaintances as a scientist is very beneficial”, Jules says. “One of the main differences between both educational institutions is the international character of UM.”
Making friends helped Jules completing his master’s, therefore he has an advice to present and future students: “You don’t have to do it alone, connect with peers with different strengths than yours and study together. This way you can make it through each part of your study.”
Jules’ Maastricht adventure didn’t end after his graduation. “I stayed at UM to pursue a PhD in the field of polymer chemistry on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen.” He investigated the development and synthesis of biobased polymers for water based latex coatings. At the moment, Jules is working as a compounding chemist for Stahl in Waalwijk.
About his time at UM he says: “Maastricht is generally a beautiful and attractive city to study in, with everything readily accessible by bike and close to the Belgian and German border. The specific events I particularly enjoyed were the scientific lectures that Studium Generale offered in the city centre of Maastricht.”